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Delaware Valley Election Preview

Voters in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties head to the polls on Tuesday to decide several races across the Delaware Valley.

A Montgomery County judge, Republican Carolyn Carluccio, is in the most high-profile race in the state. She is facing Democrat Dan McCaffery for a seat on the state Supreme Court. Carluccio is president judge on Montgomery County’s Court of Common Pleas. McCaffery, a Philadelphian, sits on the state Superior Court. The pair are vying for an opening left by last year’s death of Chief Justice Max Baer.

Around $22 million has been spent on the Carluccio-McCaffery race. That includes donations from labor groups, the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association’s political action committee, and the Commonwealth Leaders Fund. Despite the spending, a recent Franklin & Marshall Poll found that 7 in 10 registered voters don’t have an opinion on either Carluccio or McCaffery.

Democrats would remain in control of the court if Carluccio would be elected, but it would be a slim 4-3 majority. Should McCaffery win, the court would keep its 5-2 Democrat majority.

Other statewide elections include the Superior Court judge race featuring Democrats Jill Beck and Timika Lane and Republicans Harry F. Smail Jr. and Maria Battista. There is also the Commonwealth Court race between Republican Megan Martin and Democrat Matt Wolf.

Voters in all the counties are electing Common Pleas judges and nominees for various row offices.

Delaware County voters will decide a variety of important races. Three seats on the county council are up for grabs, including those currently held by three Democrats: Chair Monica Taylor, Ph.D., Vice Chair Elaine Paul Schaefer, and Christine A. Ruther. They are being challenged by Republicans Joy Schwartz, Jeffrey O. Jones, and Upland Borough Mayor William Dennon.

Republican attorney Beth Stefanide-Miscichowski has made concerns about rising crime the centerpiece of her race against incumbent Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer, a Democrat.

The fiscally-flailing City of Chester is almost certain to get its first new mayor in seven years. City Councilman Stefan Roots defeated incumbent Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland in the Democratic primary in May. Roots will face independent Anita J. Littleton.

Polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and close at 8 p.m. To see a sample ballot, click here.

Bucks County elections have been peppered with controversy, including Democratic candidates putting the name of popular Republican District Attorney Matt Weintraub on their own campaign signs — without his permission.

“I was disappointed to learn that my name has been used by the Marseglia-Harvie campaign without my authorization or permission,” Weintraub, who’s running for Common Pleas judge, told DVJournal.

That would be Bucks County Commissioners Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia and fellow Democrat County Commission Board Chair Robert Harvie Jr., who are seeking second terms in office. Pamela A. Van Blunk, currently serving as Bucks County Controller, is running as a team with Republican Gene DiGirolamo, who is seeking a second term. Van Blunk and DiGirolamo have also made rising crime the centerpiece of their campaign.

There are also multiple races for the Central Bucks School District board, as well as other school boards across the DelVal. School District 1 voters will be picking between Democratic incumbent Karen Smith and Republican challenger Dr. Stephen Mass. District 2 features incumbent Republican Dana Hunter, the current school board president, against Democrat Heather Reynolds. In District 3, it’s Democrat Dana Foley against Republican Glenn Schloeffel. District 6 is a race between Republican Aarati P. Martino and Democrat Rick Haring. District 8 features Democrat Susan M. Gibson against Tony Arjona.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Sample ballots can be accessed here.

Montgomery County will see a major change in its leadership with the election of two new commissioners to the three-seat board. Jamila Winder, who was appointed to fill out the remainder of Val Arkoosh’s term, is running for election as a Democrat. Lawyer Neil Makhija, who ran for state representative in Carbon County in 2016, is running as a Democrat. Republicans Thomas DiBello, a businessman, and Liz Ferry, an Upper Dublin commissioner, are also seeking voters’ approval.

Other major contests include the sheriff’s race between Democratic incumbent Sean P. Kilkenny and Republican Ed Moye.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Sample ballots can be found here. People looking to see if they can vote in the election can get more information here.

Chester County’s polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

A referendum expanding the Honey Brook Township Board of Supervisors from three to five is creating local buzz.

There will also be a new District Attorney in Chester County. Ryan L. Hyde is running as a Republican against Democrat Christopher de Barrena-Sarobe.

There could also be turnover on the County Board of Commissioners. Incumbent Democrats Josh Maxwell and Marian Moskowitz are running for re-election. They are facing Republicans David C. Sommers and Eric Roe. The Democrats, who became the first Democratic majority to run the county in 2019, tout their record of inclusivity, affordable housing, and the environment. But the Republicans point to the escape of convicted murderer Danilo Cavalcante from the county prison despite a previous escape by an inmate using the same method, as a reason to question Maxwell and Moskowitz’s competency. Both serve on the Prison Board, along with Sheriff Fredda Maddox, also a Democrat. who is running for Common Pleas Judge. Her Chief Deputy Kevin Dykes, a Democrat, is being challenged by former sheriff’s deputy Republican Roy Kofroth.

A sample ballot can be found here.

Delco, Foundation Vow to Fight ER Closure

At a press conference outside Delaware Memorial Hospital on Monday, Delaware County Council Chair Monica Taylor, Ph.D. sounded the alarm about the hospital’s emergency room closing.

After the hospital company announced the hospital would be changing to a mental health facility without an ER, the Foundation for Delaware County sued for an injunction. The hospital is appealing a court ruling granting it.

“The health and safety of the tens of thousands of residents who live in the eastern section of Delaware County is in jeopardy,” said Taylor. “On Friday evening, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced an order closing the Emergency Department here at Delaware County Memorial Hospital due to staffing.

“Pennsylvania Department of Health’s decision to suspend operations at Delaware County Memorial Hospital, owned by Prospect Holdings, is a direct result of (parent company) Prospect’s failure to adequately staff Delaware County Memorial Hospital,” said Taylor.

“Prospect’s recent history shows a gross lack of concern for the well-being of Delaware County residents. On September 21, Prospect announced its intention to close the hospital within 60 days. They were faced with legal action to remain open, which they then appealed. It isn’t by chance that Prospect is now unable to adequately staff the hospital- which has resulted in the state shutting them down,” Taylor said.

“As you can imagine, that is a severe concern to the county, to the tens of thousands of residents who live in this section of the county, to the nurses and medical staff who treat the community here at the hospital, and to the EMS members who transport residents here for lifesaving care. In a lifesaving situation, seconds can save a life.”

Frances Sheehan, president of the Foundation for Delaware County, said the foundation was formed six years ago when Prospect Medical Holdings, parent company of Crozer Medical, bought the hospital. Prospect agreed to keep ER services through 2026 but “has not honored that commitment to the community.”

The Foundation secured a temporary injunction, but with the state’s decision, “Prospect has shown a level of contempt for the court and for the health and well-being of the people of Eastern Delaware County. Again and again, Prospect has proven that they are not a trusted partner.”

With the help of the district attorney and the attorney general, the foundation will “pursue all legal options available,” said Sheehan. “People’s lives and health are at stake right here, right now.”

Taylor said, “As a mother, I am concerned for the many young women in the community who were receiving pre-natal care here, and who now need to travel to a hospital in another section of the county or to Philadelphia or Montgomery County to get the vital care they need throughout their pregnancies and then also care for their newborns and children,” Taylor said.

“Traveling to the next closest hospital is not an easy and viable option for some women. The same is true for some of the elderly residents who live in this section of the county. And for those who don’t have a vehicle and rely on public transportation or walking. This is a major barrier for them to access healthcare,” she said.

“The closure of the hospital greatly impacts some of our most vulnerable residents and historically underserved communities. Through the past year, Prospect has shown little to no regard to the safety and well-being of our community and the county has, and will continue, to do everything in its power to ensure the hospital stays open.

The county is also continuing to explore all of our legal options to try to keep the hospital open,” she said.

Asked to respond, the hospital sent this message. “Crozer Health received an order from the Pennsylvania Department of Health advising us that due to staffing issues, we must close the Emergency Department at Delaware County Memorial Hospital until further notice, beginning at 7:00 a.m. on Monday, November 7,” said Crozer Health CEO Tony Esposito. “We have alerted nearby emergency departments and EMS, including our Taylor Hospital and Crozer-Chester Medical Center, that are prepared to see patients.”

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